Yes, we did have ‘good news’ stories in 2022. Here are some you might have missed – The Morning Call

Dear reader:

One of the things journalists hear all too often is that “there’s never any good news in the paper.”

It’s all tragedy and sadness, or people caught doing bad things, we hear constantly. And there’s some truth in that. It’s an occupational hazard in this business, but if you look closely, there are plenty of uplifting stories in the newspaper, and online, on a daily basis.

So, as we close the books on 2022 and look forward to 2023, let’s bypass the tragedy and sadness that occurred on our pages and on in 2022 and celebrate the “good news” stories we published in print and online.

One of my favorite categories of stories that we are privileged to bring to you are ones on bravery, of people doing extraordinary things. Like this story by Daniel Patrick Sheehan and Ryan Kneller in May of two Allentown police officers plunging into the icy Lehigh River to rescue a man who had slipped below the surface.

And this story in January about a New York City firefighter, Matt Zimpfer, a Hellertown native, rescuing an infant from a fire in the Bronx that left 17 people dead.

There were other stories, I’m sure, that in the crush of a long year and thousands of news stories published that I’m forgetting. One that we will never forget and one that I think of every day was Mike Hirsch’s bravery. Mike, as many of you know, was a longtime editor at The Morning Call and a good friend to many. He died in August after a nearly three-year battle with ALS, but before his death he took the extraordinary step of writing his own obituary.

We also had many stories of people showing great leadership and character.

One of the more recent ones was a story by Lindsay Weber on the Shahda brothers, Peter and Mark, sons of Syrian immigrants who grew up in Allentown and have emerged as leaders in the city.

Jenny Roberts’ story on Allentown School District principal Rebecca Bodnar, who competes in the male-dominated sport of motorcycle racing, is another example of great leadership. Bodnar wants the little girls at Central Elementary School to know they can do anything they want when they grow up — even race motorcycles.

There were also many stories on people and their achievements. Jenny Roberts’ story in May on the Bethlehem triplets, who became the first set to graduate from Lehigh University, is a great example.

Another story along those lines came from sports, where Keith Groller profiled Kyle and Owen Johnson, who were adopted by a Lehigh University professor out of a Haitian orphanage and wound up being accepted at Harvard. The sports angle? They were football champions — and top students — at Freedom High School.

There are never any shortage of heartwarming stories from sports. Tom Housenick’s story in February on Nazareth wrestler Vinny lever had a happy ending. lever had decided not to wrestle his senior year as he battled with some personal issues, but returned to the mats late in the year after some serious soul-searching. That decision and his teammates literally “saved my life,” Hebe said.

podiatrist dr  Neal Kramer says volunteering to help homeless men at Allentown Rescue Mission's shelter is some of the most rewarding work of his 40-year career.

Stories of selflessness from people across the Lehigh Valley are never in short supply. In March, Leif Greiss had this story on a Lehigh Valley podiatrist who works with homeless men at the Allentown Rescue Mission.

In February, Anthony Salamone wrote about a Nazareth woman, the daughter of a woman killed in the infamous 1986 bank heist in East Allen Township. Amy Pidgeon was 12 when her mother, Jane Hartman, was one of three killed in that bank robbery. Pidgeon wanted to replicate the community outpouring of support she received after her mother died so she formed Nazzy Moms Unite, which advocates for children and families in the school district.

Milana Shparber, owner of The Black Forest Deli, stands in her establishment Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in Bethlehem.  Shparber has seen a swell of support from the community and a rush of customers.

The Russia-Ukraine war can seem distant to us, but not to two Bethlehem deli owners, immigrants from Ukraine. Jennifer Sheehan wrote this story in April on Milana Shparber and her daughter, Victoria, who had received an outpouring of support from the community after the Russian invasion in February.

Some good news stories are just interesting and fun. Graysen Golter’s story on the former Bethlehem band director, who recalled the time he and 220 Liberty High students performed in Philadelphia in 1976 for Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September.

Or, the Allentown woman who helped rescue an injured falcon that landed in singer James Taylor’s truck before his PPL Center concert in July.

And this one about the Lehigh Valley comedy duo who celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day. The wife’s advice for a long, happy marriage? “Fight,” Doe Levan said, with tongue firmly on cheek.

So, you see, it’s not all doom and gloom, tragedy and heartache. Here’s to more good news — and less bad news — stories in 2023.

Thank you for being a loyal reader and for making The Morning Call the number one source for news, sports, business and entertainment in the Lehigh Valley. (Not already a subscriber? Get started here)


Mike Miorelli


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